DRIVEWAY at New House - Sept. 2003
At my other house I had a spectacular driveway done - all mortared flagstone - gorgeous! It cost me over $10,000 and I no longer have that kind of cash lying around. I guess I really miss it because that's the first thing I feel compelled to work on outside.
Really and truly....I am always hopeful I might find a treasure chest or even a dinosaur bone.
Or maybe I was a terrier in a past life!
You can break asphalt easily with the chisel end of a brick hammer - great digging tool!
This ain't a bad job. The best inspiration is to look at what other people PAID REAL $ for. Think you can do better? Well, maybe you actually can!
Want to learn how to compromise? Set some Belgian block. They are fairly similar in size, but hardly uniform. Perfection is impossible and negotiation out of the question, so you will always find yourself in a compromising position. Since they weigh 15-20 lbs. each, eventually you'll let them win a lot of arguments.
"I did it....guilty as charged!" I may be slow, but yo! Who got the job done?
Before I got to the next photo, I had to tear up and clear a 10x10' section of my driveway. The weapon for this is definitely a pick axe. I had one from a garage sale that did the whole job for a dollar. And then it taught me a linguistic lesson: Don't fly off the handle! I never thought about the derivation of that idiom, but it's pretty clear now. The axe head was getting loose, but the handle was split and I couldn't relodge it by tapping. The rest is history....including my pick axe.
Here's the technique: Use the point end to break into the asphalt, then swing the wedge end under this section and pry it up with a rocking motion. It's not difficult - kinda fun actually. The hard part is the debris problem. No haulers want it. I have about two cubic yards of it on my back patio and another yard in front. No one will take it for under $260 - and that's if I load the container myself! My driveway had two layers. The top one came up in nice, good sized slabs. The lower one came up in annoying, fist size chunks. It's not fun to move it again and again. Like a true Scarlett O'Hara, I'll think about that tomorrow....
On the bright side, there were 4" or so of nice, fine packed stone dust underneath. My plan is basically to build a 4" thick mortar slab with hunks of stone and brick in it and sectioned with expansion felt over this substrate. Will it support the weight of a motor vehicle? I really, REALLY hope so....but I'll take a lot of pics for my resume first!
Yes....the fun part! I noticed this really cool tri-color (3rd color is purplish) flagstone pallet at Bartell's, only a mile or so from my house. Another impulse buy that I don't have any regret over - I had gone there to buy a new pick axe. (And if Bartell's carried Entenmann's,we'd have cake in the house, too!) $190 and 20 minutes later they dumped all 1.5 tons of it....right on top of my new Belgian block work! The force of impact splintered the wood pallet they were stacked on, totally tangled the chicken wire wrap, fragmented many pieces of the stone, BUT my Belgian block held up beautifully. Whew!
Took the rest of the day to clear the stone and arrange the first of nine d'way panels. I only hope to get two done before cold weather.
"Here comes the sun, little darling...." - I can't lie. I LOVE to do this part. It's incredibly time consuming, but so engrossing I'd do it for 16 hours straight on such a perfect day - but I only had daylight for 14 hours. It's tricky: each brick and stone is set individually - you are in charge of slope and plane, and you won't really know if you called it correctly until it rains hard.
note: Today (9-1) it DID rain hard and the drainage IS good. I couldn't work, but rain is good. It's like viagra for curing mortar. It also rained on 9-2 and 9-3 and it's supposed to rain again on 9-4. I actually went out and set a few bricks and stones in the rain. This project should keep me busy a lo-o-o-ong time. An 80 lb. bag of mortar is only enough to set 1 to 1.5 sq ft of the mosaic. That's a LOT of hard mixing. I'd switch to concrete, which is easier to mix, except that it has no body to it like mortar. I'd have to hold every pour in place with forms until it set up. So I'll stick with mortar for now and do what I can without pushing it. Below shows my minimal rain hampered progress (9-2), but also how "pretty when wet."
Despite a rainy week, I got all the stone set - mostly working underneath a tarp. I was able to do all the jointing later in the week. I'm curious to see if this "sky" section holds together as well as the sun stones which I set and filled simultaneously.
09-12-03 - I'm doing the d'way in 8x10' panels, separated by expansion joints. The first panel represents the sun (could you tell??) and life and happiness, which is a motif already established on the porch transoms. The d'way also faces due west.
09-18-03 - In the second panel, I wanted to use these four 12" bluestone squares and some of the purple stone. So, I placed the bluestone like a cluster of four diamonds, representing my four children - what I value most in my life - around a diamond of sun-colored light in a field of purple (the color of wealth) stone with brick paths that are nothing but a series of forks in the road.
09-25-03 - Uh oh. Here comes the storm!
09-28-03 - The spiral is supposed to represent a cyclone, or change. Change usually happens when you least expect it, but even if you have an inkling, it is always a test of human adaptability.
09-28-03 - I am done for the season! In the spring I will continue based upon the outcome of any changes that took place during the winter. I'm hoping to begin with a rainbow!